I've been listening to lots of Spanish bands lately, since Roque was so appalled with my ignorance of Spanish pop (beyond Le Mans, La Buena Vida, Family, La Casa Azul, Juniper Moon, Souvenir, The Magic Whispers and a handful of others) that he made me a brilliant cdr. Some of the great bands I discovered were Aventuras de Kirlian, Cola Jet Set, Los Secretos, Los Fresones Rebeldes, Los Bólidos, Carrots, Aerolíneas Federales, Kamenbert and Undershakers - you may have noticed songs from a few of these in the player the last couple of weeks. Especially in the 80s it seems the Spanish were much more in tune to the pop renaissance, whereas Sweden was almost devoid of jangly music. There is certainly lots of great pop happening there NOW as well, and some of the newish bands I've fallen for are Los Punsetes, Vacaciones and Las Escarlatinas.
Roque recommended I buy Las Escarlatinas' album on Siesta, and I'm very glad I did. Surely one of the very best albums of 2005 in retrospect, and the artwork is nothing short of unbelievable. I imagine they can't have made more profit from those than the average Factory release. The bandname means of course The Scarlets, and the album is called A Todo Color or In Full Colour (I've done my homework, you know). The music reminds me a bit of The School and Club 8, with a tinge of Heavenly and maybe Stereolab on one track. And because of the cover of one of my Belle & Sebastian favourites "Storytelling"(called "El Diván" here), it's easy to see how very close the sound is to that soundtrack. Like many Siesta releases, it's one of the best recorded pop albums around. Written by a group of professional songwriters and played by the four girls in the band. The only English text I've found about them is on Siesta, which tells us that "the lyrics are lovely and poetic in general, occasionally funny". I'm relieved. No, frankly the fact that my knowledge of Spanish is limited to the odd phrase and word doesn't bother me at all while listening. You can probably find less pleasant things to enjoy than singer Almudena López' vocals!
But the fact that surprisingly many bands sing in their native language is arguably the main reason that few bands from Spain are discussed or written about in today's indiepop circuits. So that's why I needed to tell you about Las Escarlatinas, and let you hear them. And while you're ordering the cd, you should also pick up Siesta's tribute cd to Keith Girdler. After you discover it has an unreleased Hal track on it, knowing which Hal we're talking about here, you may be in need of medical consultation, so fittingly all proceeds go a hospital.
CLOUD 72 Las Escarlatinas - Lloraré